Learning disability support provider CMG staged a Paralympic-inspired Athletics Championship at Sutton Arena in London recently.
In Paralympic style, the day started with a procession of international flags, which CMG service users carried through the stadium, led on by a genuine Olympic torch. A service user choir also sang a range of uplifting songs to accompany the athletes as they marched into the stadium. The athletes then took part in a range of track and field events, including archery, long-jump, boccia, relay races, and even sumo wrestling.
British Olympic legend David Hemery, who won a gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, was guest of honour at the event. He talked to CMG’s service users about his sporting achievements, and awarded the competitors with medals at the end of the day. Local MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Tom Brake, also attended, as did the leader of Sutton Council, councillor Ruth Dombey, and Mayor of Sutton, councillor Sean Brennan.
CMG’s Athletics Championship was organised in partnership with Fitness 4 Fun, a community interest company that works with CMG to promote the benefits of unified sports. Unified sports allow people with disabilities to compete as equals, enabling them to fulfil their potential.
Speaking after the event, Hemery said: “[The] event really proved the power of sport in uniting and empowering people of all abilities. It was a pleasure to meet so many talented service users and I was very impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment. I was also struck by the dedication of CMG’s staff – who are a great example of service and caring in action.”
Michael Fullerton, clinical director at CMG, said: “Our service users look forward to this event every year and it has been even more successful this time. “At CMG we are passionate about promoting engagement in sport as part of a healthy lifestyle for the people we support. We are so proud of everyone who took part.”